Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Reading Log

July 25, 2010 04:27AM

I found James Tate's collection of prose poems Return to the City of Donkeys to be perfect for dipping into desultorily as during lulls at work or whenever a few spare minutes should arise over the course of the day. Nothing earthshakingly original or profound here, just quietly well crafted light entertainments in the mild to moderately absurdist manner spiced here and there with wit and whimsy. Nice stuff.


July 28, 2010 01:12AM

With the new English translation of Bernhard's 1967 collection, Prose, I must admit to being somewhat disappointed with the unevenness of these early stories. The best ones are the first three and my favorite of all is the opening story, "Two Tutors", which has all the hallmarks of his mature style: the obsessed narrator on the edge of insanity, the comically exaggerated language, the inexplicably weird series of events, etc. "The Cap" and "Is It a Comedy? Is It a Tragedy?" also deliver much of the searing wit I look for in Bernhard. These qualities are either absent or lack the coherence to be very effective in the remaining four stories including the long (40pg.) "The Carpenter" which ends the book. So, worth reading, but primarily for those first three.

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